The Nordic region punches above its weight in IT terms, with a rich tech ecosystem that ranges from clusters of tech startups creating the latest apps to large in-house IT teams transforming traditional industries.
Read in this top 10 about some of the tech startup hubs in the region taking their ideas to the next stage and also find out which traditional industries, such as shipping, are adopting the latest technology.
The Nordic region is also a place where innovation occurs, which includes approaches to development. For example, one of the region’s biggest banks, Nordea, is running women-only hackathons to come up with ideas for women-focused financial products.
Here are Computer Weekly’s top 10 Nordic enterprise IT stories of 2019.
1. Nordea brings fintech for women by women
Sweden’s Nordea bank recently co-arranged a successful female-only hackathon in Stockholm Town Hall where teams of volunteers worked to create, among other things, an app and social media tools that can help increase women’s knowledge of, and interest in, investing and saving. The event was a big success, said Lotta Bourgoin, deputy head of digital wealth at Nordea.
2. Sweden’s first GDPR fine sets regulatory tone
Sweden has seen its first fine issued under the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), which was imposed on an upper secondary school, according to the country’s Data Protection Authority (DPA). Some fear that the fine, of about SEK200,000 (£16,000), could make organisations more cautious about implementing of digital technologies, but there has been support for the DPA’s stance.
3. Danske Bank builds on machine learning to predict IT failures
Denmark’s Danske Bank is working with IBM to apply machine learning to predict and fix IT problems before customers experience problems. With IT outages regularly causing downtime for mobile banking apps and online banking systems, banks’ reputation among customers is at stake as they increasingly promote digital channels.
4. Sweden’s SEB bank uses mob programming across business
Sweden’s SEB bank is using mob programming to develop new applications, and is introducing the practice to more development teams across the business.This approach to software development is a step up from pair programming, in which two programmers sit at the same computer and collaborate on the same code at the same time, creating a more agile work situation.
5. Reykjavik: An IT ecosystem beyond the ice
Iceland has become something of a mysterious, distant land to tourists in recent years, but for the startup community, its seemingly far-flung geographic location and cultural individuality make it one of the most conducive locations for mainstream business success in Europe. With the US only four hours’ flight away to the west, the UK and central Europe even closer to the south, and Scandinavia as an engulfing ecosystem, few countries can claim the strategic advantage that Iceland has for startups to flourish.
6. Shipping giant Maersk on taking a cloud-first approach to disrupting the competition
Danish transport and shipping giant Maersk has shared details of the cloud-first strategy it is pursuing as it seeks to retain its market-leading position, while surfacing new opportunities for revenue growth. Speaking at the DevOps Enterprise Summit (DOES) in London on 25 June 2019, Rasmus Hald, who heads up Maersk’s cloud centre of excellence, said the firm was facing a number of wide-ranging competitive threats.
7. Three Finnish banks, one core IT platform
There are times when it makes sense for several different companies to share resources. This happens quite frequently in the car industry, for example, in which components and even entire sub-assemblies may be common to cars from different manufacturers.
Usually, although not always, the individual companies in such projects are all subsidiaries of a single, larger organisation. Even when they’re not, it often makes sense to avoid reinventing the wheel, as long as the wheel isn’t central to the business’s unique selling point.
8. Microsoft embarks on renewable-powered datacentre push in Sweden
Microsoft is on course to build datacentres in two locations in Sweden, which it claims are on course to become among the most sustainably designed and operated server farms in its fleet.
The software giant is teaming up with Swedish electricity provider Vattenfall to power the proposed facilities, with 100% renewable energy, along with other initiatives aimed at reinforcing Microsoft’s position as a carbon-neutral company.
9. Swedes need to keep a week’s cash under the bed
Swedes are better prepared for modern-day emergencies than they used to be – or, at least, they should be. The Swedish Civil Contingencies Agency, MSB, has distributed literature to all households with instructions on how to prepare for digital monetary emergencies. Something new was added to the old instructions which in the past used to be printed in the back of the phone register and distributed on paper to most people. Besides things like keeping candles in case the light goes out, the agency advises citizens to keep cash stored at home at all times.
10. Malmo: Sweden’s small but sturdy tech ecosystem
Sweden’s reputation as a hospitable breeding ground of “unicorn companies” is well documented. However, while the capital Stockholm is, understandably, pinpointed as the leading stable, Malmo’s more humble and understated herd of innovators continue to jump global fences from the south. There is a consensus that while Stockholm continues to rely on the reputations and talent pools of Spotify, Klarna and Skype et al, Malmo is thriving upon a well-rounded, diverse and feel-good vibe; subsequently generating a startup ecosystem that bridges the best of the Nordics with the rest of the world.